In Memory of




Obituary for Russel David Kilps

Russel David was born to eternal life on July 7th, 2023 at the age of 85. Russ is remembered as a devoted husband, loving father and grandfather; a generous and loyal friend; and respected business owner. He was born May 19, 1938 as the youngest of four children of William and Gladys (Arnett) Kilps and raised in Hales Corners, Wisconsin where he spent most of his life. He attended old Concordia College in Milwaukee where he gained dear, lifelong friends and strengthened his Lutheran faith.

Russ’ parents moved to Hales Corners in 1932 where first, his father founded and then his two brothers grew the William Kilps & Sons home building company into one of the largest homebuilders in the Midwest. After working a variety of roles for his brothers, Russ took over the company’s Lumberyard (Hale Park Lumber & Millwork) in 1959 and along with a small and dedicated group of employees, built it into a successful business until it was sold in 2014. He always made time for customers, shared countless laughs around the front desk’s counter, and eagerly assisted many builders and contractors along in their careers. Russ and his accordion were always heard leading sing-alongs at Hale Park Lumber’s Christmas Parties, Hayrides, Golf Outings and family celebrations.

Russ’ best friend and love of his life was Kathy. They loved their children, 13 grandchildren, and pet dogs. Simply put, they just cherished time together and numerous shared hobbies kept them busy. Russ and Kathy enjoyed hosting neighbors and friends for dinner and games, traveled extensively overseas, covered thousands of miles on road trips near and far in their vans, and loved their Door County sunsets.

Russ was preceded in death by his parents, William and Gladys Kilps; by his sister Doris Kilps; by his brothers, Arthur and Donald Kilps; by his sons, Timothy Kilps and Scott Lese; and by his daughter-in-law, Kimberly Lese. In addition to his wife, Kathleen, Russ is survived by his children: Michele Kilps Nelson, John (Angelina) Kilps, Shawn (Gabrielle) Lese, Melissa (John) Streit, and Christopher Lese.

Visitation at Hales Corners Lutheran Church, 12300 W. Janesville Road, Hales Corners, WI 53130 on Wednesday, July 19 from 10 AM with a Christian service to follow at Noon. Private burial at Forest Home Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial in the form of contributions to the Russel D. Kilps Endowment Scholarship at the WCTC Foundation for Waukesha County Technical College students enrolled in the construction and building trades program.

NOTE: If memorial gifts are given, checks may be made payable to “WCTC Foundation, Inc.” with “Russel D. Kilps” on the memo line so the Foundation knows where to designate the gift.

Foundation Address Information:

WCTC Foundation, Inc.
College Center, C-209
800 Main St.
Pewaukee, WI 53072